"The first time I had to schedule my mammogram, I was petrified," recalls Melissa, a patient of the Breast Health Center at El Camino Hospital. "But I knew I had to have one since I had already turned 40 and I have a family history of cancer." Melissa's grandmother had battled breast cancer years before.
Part of Melissa's fear was due to all of the misinformation out there about mammography. Many women hear that mammograms are either painful or embarrassing, and that leads them to delay their first appointment. But, most women, after having their first mammogram, realize that those stories are highly exaggerated.
"The staff at the Breast Health Center is absolutely fabulous," says Melissa. "They are always warm and comforting."
Although Melissa thought it would be awkward to have a mammogram, she says "It never felt weird at all because the techs are so professional."
Melissa has now had several mammograms at the center.
"Most have been normal, but I did have one follow-up breast ultrasound to check a suspicious area of my breast."
Melissa says the ultrasound experience also went smoothly. And, fortunately, the results showed that her breast was fine and there was no need for additional testing.
Melissa is grateful that the Breast Health Center staff, which includes technicians Jeri and Joni, and radiologist Kristina Jong, MD, have made her visits so pleasant.
"They have a certain way about them," she says, noting that it is sometimes hard to define that quality that makes a healthcare worker so well suited for the job.
Melissa says she is happy to share her story with other women in the community, especially those who may be anxious about having their first mammogram.
Thank you, Melissa!